The Story of Aggressive and Violent Peasant Elites in the North

Part of the World Histories of Crime, Culture and Violence book series (WHCCV)


All over early modern Fennoscandia—in the areas of modern-day Norway, Sweden, and Finland—there were peasants who occupied wealthy farmsteads, held positions of trust, and had kinship networks with members of higher status groups such as local priests and state officials, burghers, and other gentry. Even though they served as a link between the rest of the peasantry and the state authorities, it is evident that early modern peasant resistance was also often led by the wealthy. There is abundant evidence in court records that these respected and leading members of the local community could practically terrorise their neighbourhood with violence and aggression. Why was there this seeming contradiction between respectability and confrontation, and how widespread a phenomenon was this in the North?1


Nordic Country Seventeenth Century Scandinavian Journal Sixteenth Century Rural Economy 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Finnish Centre of Excellence in Historical ResearchUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

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